Prep cross country: East boys fourth; Salisbury pair all-state
By David Shaw
CLEMMONS ó East Rowan capped its boys cross-country season with another signature performance Saturday.
The Mustangs overcame a costly false start and placed 10th in 3A state championship meet at Tanglewood Park.
“At East Rowan we consider cross country a team sport,” coach Rick Roseman said after East, making its first appearance in the states since 2002, totaled 264 team points. “We won the county as a team. We won the conference as a team. And we’re 10th in the state as a team. I think it’s fantastic.”
It didn’t begin that way.
The race was halted seconds after the starter’s gun discharged when one of the field’s 131 entrants collided with East sophomore Cole Honeycutt’s right shoulder just 100 yards from the starting line.
“It’s a shame,” Honeycutt said after completing the rugged 5K course 22nd in 17:13.03, his best time at Tanglewood. “With this many people you want to get out fast ó and we did. We had a real good start before the false start.”
East teammate Ross Oden agreed.
“I was winning,” said Oden, who was 42nd in 17:45.11. “You know you’re all pumped up, ready to go, endorphins kicking in. Then you have start over, and they’re not ever there.”
Junior Eli Walton, who missed part of last season with a stress fracture, was equally frustrated. He likened the experience to preparing for an exam, sitting down in a classroom and being told the test would be postponed.
“It took a lot out of me,” he said after crossing the line 83rd in 18:35.88. “When you’re on the line you get that nervous, anxious feeling. You’re mentally and physically ready to go. The second time you just don’t have it.”
Roseman emphasized that every runner, not just the Mustangs, was forced to recalculate.
“It’s no excuse,” he said. “And if we hadn’t gotten off to such a good start it wouldn’t have mattered. But the truth is, it did.”
Oden, a senior who placed third in last week’s Midwest Regional, never truly recovered and finished behind Honeycutt for the first time all season.
“Hey, we were here,” he said. “For the first time in seven years, we were here. Just to lead the team and get us to the state meet was pretty awesome.”
Other Mustang scorers included sophomore Brad Oden, who lost a shoe early on, ran the race in his stocking feet and finished 85th in 18:41.06. East’s fifth finisher was Preston Dixon (92nd in 18:51.60). Its sixth, Mark Almeida (107th in 19:10.49), proved decisive because it broke a 10th-place tie with Erwin in the team standings. Hunter Arey (114th in 19:22.38) completed East’s lineup.
“I think overall we did our best this season,” Brad Oden said. “Now that we know what it’s like, we’ll definitely be back.”
Three area runners had top-10 finishes and qualified for all-state honors. Salisbury senior Nick Summers (2A) was seventh in 17:23.93, and teammate Philip Tonseth was ninth in 17:25.15. A.L. Brown’s Larry Scaggs (3A) was ninth with a 16:54.99 in his race.
“It was a tough course, lots of hills,” said Summers, who placed 22nd in last fall’s state meet. “After I hit the hills I was kind of dead. I’m disappointed, but I’ll use this as motivation when the indoor track season comes around.”
Tonseth, a junior, also had higher expectations.
“We were looking on the Internet and figured we both could be top five,” he said. “The big hill was tough. You run over it two times, and it takes everything out of you.”
Scaggs, a three-time state meet qualifier, has drawn interest from Pfeiffer, Appalachian State and a formal offer from the Naval Academy. He ran with the leaders throughout the race.
“If you don’t get out fast, you’re stuck behind,” he said. “And if you’re stuck behind, you’re left behind.”
South Rowan’s Michael York finished 109th in 19:14.18.
Gray Stone Day School of Misenheimer placed four finishers among the top 16 and won the 1A boys championship with 65 points. Dalton Wally was second in 16:47.33, followed by Kaleb Medlin (10th in 17:18.17), Harrison Latimer (13th in 17:48.90), Mygel Bergstresser (16th in 17:51.09) and Eldon Zacek (37th in 18:18.31).